Thanks to all for the responses below. I had thought of Jane Eyre and Tom Sawyer, but I hadn't thought about David Copperfield, Vashtar, the Wiz of Oz, or Pollyanna. I can now add that Tolstoy himself was an orphan and was raised by his Aunt Alexandra. Also, the title character in Mary Shelley's novella Mathilda is raised by her severe aunt after her mother dies and her father abandons her. It might be interesting to think about why exactly VN chose to make JS an orphan, and whether or not this fits with the way orphans have traditionally functioned in literary narratives.
>>> On 11/6/2008 at 8:26 PM, in message <491352F702000012002EA7D7@dudley.holycross.edu>, NABOKV-L <NABOKV-L@HOLYCROSS.EDU> wrote:
Tom Sawyer was raised by his dead mother's sister, Aunt Polly.
Gavriel Shapiro [and Michael Donohue]
Sredni Vashtar, of course.
Just barely [September 1900] "Aunty Em, Aunty Em!"
Jane Eyre was raised by her heartless Aunt Reed. David Copperfield is adopted by his kind, eccentric aunt Betsy Trotwood and even renamed "Trot" (an apt word for Pale Fire) in her honor. Also Pollyanna (1913) -- but Jane, David, and Tom are probably the best examples.
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney